What to Look for in an Everyday Carry Backpack
A backpack is one of the most convenient grab-and-go options for everyday carry, whether you’re headed to the office, running a few errands, or trekking into the field. And where backpacks were once considered either ‘juvenile’ or ‘sporty’, the availability of high-class options made from premium materials has cemented everyday carry backpacks as a part of the modern man’s wardrobe.
In this quick guide, we’re going to give you the rundown on how to choose the best backpack for your everyday carry kit. Using our RuckSac as the baseline example, we’ll fill you in on all the context you need to fit a pack to your practical, tactical, or professional needs.
A great everyday carry backpack should be like the Golden Mean: Perfectly proportioned, and good looking as a result.
Don’t get us wrong: There’s a place and time for much smaller bags (like our Man-Bag) as well as much larger bags (looking at you, duffel bags). But for general purpose carry that can bridge the gap between practical, tactical, and professional purposes, a mid-sized backpack is a sure bet.
We designed our RuckSac to fall right in the middle of size ranges, at just a little over a 20 liter capacity. This gives you enough room for up to a 15 inch laptop in the dedicated internal sleeve, but doesn’t get so big as to feel bulky when fully loaded.
When you reach about 15 liters and below, you’re looking more at dedicated day packs that are better for errands and light hikes. At 25 liters and above, you’re moving into the territory of camping and tactical gear that’s meant to support a full loadout.
What should an everyday carry backpack be made out of? The exact materials are less important than the qualities they bring to the game, which should include:
A classy, professional look and feel
That’s the trifecta: Long lasting, good looking, and great at protecting your precious gear. We chose waxed canvas as the body of our RuckSac, giving a natural feel that’s exceptionally rugged, durable, and water resistant. Full-grain leather accents emphasize the bag’s ability to develop a rich patina while creating a more professional look and feel.
How a backpack is built will determine how comfortable it is to carry, full stop. If the shape, size, or materials of the bag and straps are off, you’ll notice uncomfortable pressure points when it’s fully loaded (we avoid that by adding extra padding to the straps and back of the RuckSac, and keeping the profile streamlined and close to your body).
Additionally, you want to make sure that any backpack you’re thinking of using for EDC has heavy duty stitching. That’s part of why we make all of our bags right here in the USA: We can make sure that every single piece of gear we send out to you is built to the highest quality possible.
How much storage room do you need in an everyday carry backpack? This is the area that’s hardest to pin down an exact answer for.
If you’re carrying little more than your wallet, keys, phone, and laptop, then a main compartment and zippered outer compartment are all you really need. Add a tablet, chargers, and external batteries though, and you’ll want a couple more internal pockets to keep everything organized. Throw in a knife, flashlight, and a holster on top of that, and you’ll want as many pockets as possible.
There’s a trick to keeping your bag organized when you have a bigger kit, though: Invest in extra organization via an admin pouch and/or a caddy for your gear. Then when you’re packing light, just remove the extra organization elements and keep your gear and backpack profile streamlined.
A truly great everyday carry backpack should be a one-time investment. This is both practical in a buy-it-for-life sense, and important because you should be able to rely on your backpack to take you anywhere.
In addition to our durable waxed canvas and leather construction, we offer a full lifetime guarantee on our RuckSac. We think that if you’re willing to invest in American-made construction, you should be rewarded in kind. And if a bag doesn’t have a guarantee on how long it’s going to last? Well, we’ll leave that to your imagination.
An everyday carry backpack can become an indispensable part of your gear, giving you a versatile carrying capacity that’s perfect for all-purpose use. If you have any questions about how to find the right bag for your specific situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.